Seattle Arts Commission

About Us

The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the ARTS office. Commission members include artists, arts professionals and other citizens with diverse backgrounds and strong links to Seattle's arts community. The mayor appoints seven of the commissioners; the City Council appoints seven, and a 15th member is selected by those 14. An additional commissioner is selected through the YMCA's "Get Engaged" program.

Mission

The Seattle Arts Commission supports the City by advocating for arts policy, creating access for equitable participation in the arts, and fostering enriching arts engagement for all residents.

Commitment to Racial Equity

The Seattle Arts Commission emphatically shares the Office of Arts & Culture's Commitment to Racial Equity. As an advisory body grounded in our common pledge to fostering racial and social justice, we leverage our collective strength and breadth of knowledge to advocate for racial equity in arts policy, programming and funding. We do this work by centering communities of color in our united effort with the City to help build a just and liberated society for all.

Meet the Commissioners

Priya Frank

Priya Frank

Chair

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Priya Frank is the Associate Director for Community Programs at Seattle Art Museum where her focus is on partnerships, community building, and equity related initiatives. Previous work at LUCID Lounge, UW Bothell, UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and the UW World Series have influenced her passion and heart for this work. Priya is a member of the Seattle Arts Commission, a board member of On the Boards and Tasveer, and is a member of Leadership Tomorrow's class of 2015. She holds a B.A. in Communications and American Ethnic Studies from University of Washington Seattle and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from University of Washington Bothell.

Dr. Quinton Morris

Dr. Quinton Morris

Vice Chair

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Dr. Quinton Morris is a concert violinist, educator, entrepreneur, filmmaker and founder of The Young Eight String Octet, comprised of distinguished African American string players from the nation's most prestigious music schools. Morris earned a Master of Music degree from the Boston Conservatory and a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently he is the Director of Chamber and Instrumental Music and Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Seattle University. A native of Renton, WA, he is also the founder of The Key to Change, a nonprofit whose mission is to ignite positive change in the world through music education. Key to Change has a violin studio in South King County, which serves middle and high school students of color and lower economic backgrounds in Renton, Kent, Auburn, Maple Valley, and Federal Way.

Dr. Morris is a board member of Artist Trust and has received the Bronze Award at the Global Music Awards and Diamond Award at the European Independent Film Awards in 2016, and a Seattle Mayor's Arts Award in 2011.

Cassie Chinn

Cassie Chinn

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Cassie Chinn, Deputy Executive Director at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, oversees planning and implementation of exhibition, collection, public programming and education initiatives in collaboration with community members. In her 20 plus years with the museum, she has worked with numerous community advisory committees and community members to create exhibitions, gather oral histories and produce other museum projects, including The Wing's recent multi-year exhibition on Bruce Lee. During the museum's capital project, she led community-based program planning and served on the design team. She is the author of The Wing's Community-based Exhibition handbook. She currently serves on the 4Culture Heritage Advisory Board. Chinn holds a BA and MA in art history as well as a Master in Teaching.

Dawn Chirwa

Dawn Chirwa

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Dawn Chirwa focuses on a wide range of strategic advisory work for The Giving Practice at Philanthropy Northwest. Prior to joining Philanthropy Northwest, Chirwa was chief of staff in the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she helped develop education strategies and led critical implementation initiatives. She also served as chief of staff to Goldman Sachs' president and COO and helped build a Goldman Sachs capital markets public policy group. Chirwa received her J.D. from Stanford Law School and her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin.

Kayla DeMonte

Kayla DeMonte

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Kayla DeMonte is the Managing Director at Citizen University, a Seattle-based non-profit working to build a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship across the US. Prior to this role, she was Director of Programs & Partnerships at the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce and began her career at One Reel, where she managed festival sponsorships, partnerships, and special projects for Bumbershoot and the Family 4th. In addition to her years on staff at One Reel, Kayla has done work with a variety of major festivals and events such as Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Northwest Folklife, and has been an event consultant for Seattle's Mayor’s Arts Awards for the past several years. Kayla has served in volunteer leadership roles with ArtsFund, The Vera Project, and Leadership Tomorrow and is a proud graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Steve Galatro

Steve Galatro

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Steve Galatro, Pratt Fine Arts Center's Executive Director since 2012, has extensive experience in nonprofit arts administration and higher education, elevated by an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. Previous management experience comes from various positions at Empty Space Theatre and the Seattle University Fine Arts Department, where he continues to serve as an adjunct professor. In 2014, Galatro was honored for his rejuvenation of Pratt as one of the top 40 Under 40 business leaders in the region by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Sheila Ghaibi

Sheila Ghaibi

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Sheila Ghaibi is a marketing manager for T-Mobile HQ in Bellevue. She received her undergraduate degree in Strategic Communications and Nutrition from the University of Utah, and a master’s in Digital Marketing from University of Washington. While her education is solidified in strategy and content creation, dance is her creative balance outlet. In her free time, she enjoys the structure and freedom dance brings her as a way of self expression. Between her education and personal experience, she has gained much perspective in diversity and inclusion. She is passionate about content development, arts and culture as it pertains to inclusivity and equality for all.

Jescelle Major

Jescelle Major

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Jescelle Major is a landscape and urban designer at multidisciplinary design firm Mithun. She holds a BS in Sustainability and the Built Environment from the University of Florida and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. After spending most of her life in the Southeast, she sees the Arts Commission as the perfect opportunity to engage in dialogue, critique and knowledge capture here, in the City of Seattle. Major is involved with the ULI, Arcade Magazine, the Alzheimer's Association, the Center for Wooden Boats and a local rowing club. 

Jescelle served as a Get Engaged Seattle Design Commissioner for the 2016-2017 term and continues to serve as a member of the City's Public Art Advisory Committee.

Mikhael May

Mikhael Mei

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As a Seattle native, Mikhael Mei Williams credits the city’s vibrant arts and cultural landscape as the impetus for her nearly 20-year career promoting arts and entertainment organizations across the private, nonprofit, higher education and public sectors. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development where she studied abroad in Berlin, Germany exploring the impact arts and cultural events have on the economic revitalization and social vibrancy of cities. Currently, Ms. Williams is the Regional Director of Marketing & Events for Entercom, a multi-media entertainment organization. In this role, she oversees marketing for 12 commercial radio stations in both Seattle and Portland along with the development of strategic business partnerships. Additionally, she produces events and festivals, ranging from 500 to 40,000 attendees, across the region. She has previously worked for Vulcan, Seattle Office of Film + Music, AEG Presents, and One Reel, focused on promoting and supporting local artists, musicians, events and festivals.

Yeggy Michael

Yeggy Michael

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Yeggy is a Seattle visual artist whose public art murals and mosaics adorn parks, banks, residences, restaurants, and museums. His work has been widely exhibited throughout Africa, Europe and the United States. Yeggy's vision is to provoke questions about natural cycles, provide a sense of place and to reflect on the movement of time. Currently, Yeggy is the Art Program Director at DNDA, a nonprofit community organization. He is active in the communities organizing art programs and activities for Seattle youth.

James Miles

James Miles

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James Miles is the Executive Director of Arts Corps. Prior to joining Arts Corps in 2017, he was the Director of Education at Urban Arts Partnership, in New York City, and a multidisciplinary teaching artist for 20 years. James came to education after working as an accountant, actor, model, and garbage man. As an educator, he found students disinterested and disengaged with the material. Yet, when he connected the curriculum to the language of youth culture, the students discovered a passion for learning. Today he uses his culturally responsive approach to leading and learning, to build more inclusive and creative environments. James is also on the Advisory Board for SXSW EDU, and is a mayoral appointee to the Seattle Arts Commission. He can be frequently found on social media, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.

Sarah Wilke

Sarah Wilke

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Sarah Wilke is the Executive Director of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States. In addition to its 25-day festival which presents over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year, SIFF provides year-round film programming though SIFF Cinema's five screens and SIFF Education youth and adult programming. Prior to joining SIFF, Wilke was the Managing Director of Seattle's contemporary performing arts center On the Boards, where for 12 years she led day-to-day and long-term strategic management of the organization. Wilke was a Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Artist Fellowships, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Artist Trust, and the National Performance Network.

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